Linux - Whats the best Distro?

OK, Im very new to Linux, I know crap all really. Ive been a Windows/Mac user for al my life…but Ive become interested in Linux through the a variety of excellent Open Source programs…then I started exploring Sourceforge and found a whole load of programs in alpha stage, that I would love to test, but they only compile on Linux.

So the bottom line is, I want a Linux distro that wont scare the crap out of a life-long windows users, one that follows the windows interactive conventions very closely. With a nice customisable desktop, a good file/folder explorer, good start menu (tho I know it wont be called that), but also one with the command-line tools to start compiling programs (gcc, gdb, make, all that crap).

Also, I have a P4 HT 3 Ghz, MSI Mainboard, Nvidia 5200 TD video card, DVD Burner, and will be getting an M-Audio 2496 or perhaps an E-MU 0404 soundcard, so I need a distro that supports a broad range of hardware, almost plug and play style.

And one that has a good help file.

Oh, yea, and I want to run flash on it (obviously with an WIn32 emulation). how hard is that?

Does such a Windows killer exist?